Thursday, February 9, 2023

Llamas invade campus for Labor Day

August 31, 2001

What animal is an ideal backyard companion, requires little maintenance and doesn’t smell or make annoying noises?

They’re llamas, and they’re invading campus this weekend.

Up to 200 of the cute creatures can be seen at Llamafest, set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.

Randi Eldridge, assistant manager at the Pavilion, said she can see why people would be attracted to llamas.

“People want to view them because they are different,” she said. “They enjoy catering to these animals like one would cater to a dog.”

Organizers say llamas have a unique way of enriching lives besides being beneficial to agriculture - they keep grass trimmed without tearing it apart.

Originally from North America, llamas are social animals with a variety of personalities that make them able to interact strongly with their environment: They hum, roll and guard other animals.

While llamas are often plagued with the reputation of spitting, event organizers say the vast majority spit only at other llamas, not people.

The Michigan Llama Association organizes the Llamafest every year along with other activities such as shows, clinics and meetings.

The MLA established a yearly $500 scholarship to benefit the students of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and it vows to “support the llamas of the future.”

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